Don't let Botrytis ruin your cannabis crop

"Botrytis is a genus of pathogens responsible for plant diseases that cause billions of dollars per year in crop loss. These necrotrophic fungi kill their plant hosts to feed on rotting tissue. Botrytis Cinerea is the most phenotypically diverse of the 40 or so Botrytis species that have been identified. This pathogen infects thousands of plant species worldwide and has evolved resistance to many fungicides. B Cinerea is present everywhere, from the Amazon rainforest to the Arctic tundra. It lurks on the keyboard that this message is written on and drifts in the air that you breathe as you read it," says Stewart Maxwell in his latest Elevated Botanist article.

Immune response
Your plants will quickly recognize the chemical signature of Botrytis infection and respond to this existential threat. Plant immune response is enabled by hormone signaling systems and includes the production of antimicrobial compounds and enrollment of soil microbes to support plant defense. At a molecular level, plant resistance genes will be up-regulated by hormone signaling to accommodate the threat environment. Botrytis has evolved countermeasures to these plant defenses which include silencing of hormone signaling through chemical synthesis and deployment of small RNA to disrupt plant defense at the genetic level. These chemical warfare tactics have evolved to a level of complexity that defies complete characterization. The extent to which we can understand these interactions enables us to bolster plant defenses using a few blunt tools. 

Stress priming
We can stimulate a plant's natural immunity by proactively signaling to our crops that they are under pathogen attack. Regalia is a branded pesticide that has demonstrated efficacy in stimulating a robust immune response in cannabis plants. This extract of the giant knotweed plant stimulates ISR and SAR plant immune systems through interaction with phytohormones, including Jasmonic and Salycilic acids. These hormones signal that the plant is under attack and elicit a protective immune response involving the production of antimicrobial and volatile organic compounds.

Mold resistant strains
There is a notable difference in susceptibility to bud rot among various cultivars. Many of the heritable characteristics that help to limit susceptibility to this disease are related to plant morphology. Densely clustered colas foster disease development, while smaller flowers and longer internodes allow for better airflow and disruption of humid microclimates. This aspect of disease resistance involves many different genes which are separately inherited. Multiple generations of breeding are required to fix these horizontally inherited traits.

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